Selecting an Ultrasound Technician College Washington District of Columbia
Now that you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Washington DC, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. First, you need to find the right program that will provide the proper instruction to become a qualified professional. And since some states do require that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it’s very important that you research each college so that you can assess and compare your choices. But just where does one start? Most potential students will begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Certainly cost and location should be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are other significant factors also. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they sponsor internships. These and additional qualifications will be discussed more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let’s go over what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are offered.
Sonogram Tech Job Description
There are various professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). No matter what their title is, they all have the same primary job description, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. While many practice as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most work in Washington DC clinics, hospitals, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Common daily job functions of a sonogram technician may involve:
- Maintaining records of patient case histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for testing and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Utilizing equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and identifying need for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently gauge the performance and safety of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to sustain that degree of professionalism and stay up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education courses on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Available
Ultrasound tech enrollees have the option to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree will normally involve about 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor’s Degree will require more time at up to 4 years to finish. Another option for those who have previously received a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a relevant medical sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to consider is that the majority of sonographer programs do have a practical training element as part of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which numerous colleges sponsor through Washington DC hospitals and clinics. When you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to fulfill the licensing or certification prerequisites in District of Columbia or whatever state you elect to practice in.
Questions to Ask Sonogram Tech Colleges
When you have determined the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of reviewing and comparing sonogram technician schools. You may first want to choose whether you would rather access classes online or travel to a college campus in the Washington DC area. Naturally location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier also. But there are other factors that you should also take into account, such as if the schools are accredited and if they sponsor internships. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are some questions that you may want to ask each sonographer school before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Tech Programs Accredited? Most sonogram technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it’s still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Washington DC employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the sonogram tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with Washington DC hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Washington health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the sonographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with District of Columbia healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Washington DC home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the ultrasound tech college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Washington DC area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Online Sonogram Tech Degrees
As earlier discussed, almost all sonogram tech schools have a clinical requirement to their programs. So while you can receive a certificate or degree online, a substantial part of the training will be either carried out in an on-campus lab or at an authorized off-campus medical care provider. Clinical training can often be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Washington DC hospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the remainder of the training and classes can be attended online in your Washington home. This is especially beneficial for those individuals that keep working while obtaining their degrees. Plus online programs are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just as with every ultrasound tech program you are considering, verify that the online program you choose is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly important for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to attend classes outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Considering Enrolling in an Ultrasound Tech School near Washington DC?
If you are considering a Sonography Tech School in the Washington District of Columbia area, following is some interesting history and background information about the location of your new school campus.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States of America. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. Washington is the principal city of the Washington metropolitan area, which has a population of 6,131,977. Washington has been described as an important political capital, owing to its status as the seat of the United States federal government. Washington is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million annual tourists.
The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.
Washington had an estimated population of 693,972 as of July 2017. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is the principal city, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.
Pick the Best Sonographer College Washington DC
Enrolling in the ideal sonographer certificate or degree program is an important first step to launching a fulfilling new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician schools require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to satisfying academic standards, you need to be in at least reasonably good physical condition, capable of standing for prolonged periods with the ability to regularly lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it often necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy equipment. Other helpful talents include technical proficiency, the ability to stay collected when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have addressed in this post, there are multiple questions that you should ask each school you are considering. This is the case whether you enroll in an online degree or drive to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can assess each college, you can narrow down your choices until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as an sonographer in Washington DC.
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